Sunday 29 September 2013

Lunar Observations with a Cold Drink

After arriving home at around 2am last night, I fetched something cold yet fortifying from the fridge and headed outside with my 10x50s on a decently clear night. The milky way summer constellations are now well past their best, and the low waning crescent moon was causing a little interference - Messier 39 was visible, but Messier 29 wasn't.

Over in Pegasus, surprisingly heading horizonwards already for an autumn constellation, the old faithful globular cluster Messier 15 wasn't really visible, but Messier 33, the Triangulum spiral galaxy, was visible, looking as usual like a ghostly Star Trek special effect. The Andromeda Spiral always puts on a show, and moving away from the sycamores in my garden, but into the annoying streetlight glow, I enjoyed looking at The Hyades, a nice little asterism above The Hyades, and also The Pleides looking like gemostones sitting upon a black velvet presentation cushion.

And then after looking at Auriga, only two of the three Messier clusters visible, I wandered right out onto the pavement and risking the laughter of taxi drivers and the questions of policemen - it has happened before - I observed the moon, a very creamy, gold top looking crescent moon low in the North East.

I don't observe the moon a lot, well, after having had observed it at x203 with a 6 inch reflector, what use are a pair of 10x50s? It's an irritant, a big bright white thing that stops me seeing stars. But tonight, as a thinning crescent, there was detail to be seen.

The visible surface was dominated by the Ocean of Storms, and the Copernicus rays although they aren't as dazzling as they are at full moon. The big crater Clavius was visible as a deep black hole on the terminator, and in between massive tremors from my shaking hands, I could see the dark floor of the crater Grimaldi towards the limb.

And I wasn't arrested either!

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